Picket plea: Don’t punish poor in budget

ANTI-POVERTY campaigners picketed the Dáil yesterday urging Finance Minister Brian Lenihan not to punish the poor in next week’s budget.

Demonstrators representing carers, and groups such as The Poor Can’t Pay and the People’s Movement made their presence felt at the gates of Leinster House.

Sinn Féin TDs Arthur Morgan and Aengus O Snodaigh joined party activists to sing Christmas carols specially re-written to get their message across that they wanted Mr Lenihan to restore the Christmas bonus to welfare recipients.

“The axing of the Christmas bonus was an unjustifiable attack on those who can least afford it. The Government has decided those on social welfare are a soft target.

“Economic recovery will not be achieved by driving people into poverty.

“The recession will only deepen if the Government persists in taking money from those who spend it every day,” Mr O Snodaigh said.

Patricia McKenna, of the People’s Movement, called for a reduction in the size of the Oireachtas.

“The Lisbon Treaty together with the previous treaties has resulted in the indisputable fact that over 78% of our laws come from Brussels,” Ms McKenna said.

The budget will seek to reduce Government spending by €4bn next year via a range of public sector cuts.


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